Sarri salutes Chelsea’s winning mentality after ‘horrible’ spell

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London (AFP) – Maurizio Sarri praised Chelsea’s mental strength as they snatched a 3-2 win over Arsenal on Saturday despite squandering a two-goal lead in a “horrible” period that left the Blues boss squirming on the touchline. Chelsea looked on course for an easy win over their London rivals after Pedro and Alvaro Morata put them 2-0 up after just 20 minutes at Stamford Bridge. But the Blues switched off at the back, allowing Arsenal to equalise through goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi. Shrugging off that collapse, Chelsea secured their second successive victory under new boss Sarri thanks to a controlled second-half display capped by Marcos Alonso’s 81st-minute winner. “We did very well for 75 minutes but inside that, 15 minutes were horrible,” Sarri said. “It was very, very difficult because we lost the distances between the players and we were unable to cover the lost balls and Continue reading "Sarri salutes Chelsea’s winning mentality after ‘horrible’ spell"

‘I want to play’: Super-sub Hazard makes his point to Sarri

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard came off the bench to inspire Chelsea’s dramatic 3-2 win over Arsenal, then told Blues boss Maurizio Sarri he is desperate to return to the starting line-up. Hazard has started on the bench for Chelsea’s opening two games of the Premier League season after the Belgium playmaker only returned to training earlier this month following the World Cup. But Hazard is pining for a place in the team from the start and he believes his impact as a substitute against Huddersfield and now Arsenal underlines his case. He set up a goal in last weekend’s 3-0 win at Huddersfield and helped Sarri extend his 100 percent start as Chelsea manager with the run and cross that teed up Marcos Alonso’s 81st minute winner against London rivals Arsenal. “It is better to be on the pitch than watching on the bench, but the boys when they Continue reading "‘I want to play’: Super-sub Hazard makes his point to Sarri"

Chelsea hit back as Alonso sinks Arsenal, Kane ensures no Wembley woe for Spurs

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London (AFP) – Chelsea recovered from the shock of blowing a two-goal lead against Arsenal as Marcos Alonso’s late strike sealed a 3-2 win, while Harry Kane ended his August hoodoo in Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Fulham on Saturday. Maurizio Sarri’s side raced into a 2-0 lead in the London derby before Arsenal drew level in a thrilling first half at Stamford Bridge. Pedro swept home with a cool finish in the ninth minute after woeful Arsenal defending and Alvaro Morata crashed in the second 11 minutes later. Although Arsenal were rocky at the back, they were dangerous going forward and Henrikh Mkhitaryan got one back with a low strike after 37th minute. Alex Iwobi nabbed Arsenal’s equaliser with a clinical effort in the 44th minute. But Chelsea bounced back from that blow, dominating the second half before Spanish defender Alonso finished off substitute Eden Hazard’s pass in the 81st Continue reading "Chelsea hit back as Alonso sinks Arsenal, Kane ensures no Wembley woe for Spurs"

Chelsea edge five-goal thriller over Arsenal

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard came off the bench to provide the winner for Marcos Alonso as Chelsea edged a thrilling London derby 3-2 over Arsenal on Saturday to condemn new Arsenal boss Unai Emery to a second consecutive defeat. Contrastingly, Chelsea sit top of the embryonic Premier League table thanks to a perfect start under Maurizio Sarri, but made life difficult for themselves after racing into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes through Pedro Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata. Arsenal were level by half-time as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi netted. Yet the Gunners were left to rue wasting a host of other glorious chances before Hazard provided the inspiration in his cameo appearance to swing an enthralling encounter Chelsea’s way. Chelsea cruised to victory at Huddersfield, whilst Arsenal were outclassed by champions Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season. But given the chasm in quality between their Continue reading "Chelsea edge five-goal thriller over Arsenal"

Ronaldo makes winning debut as Juventus hit back for 3-2 win at Chievo

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Verona (Italy) (AFP) – Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo missed chances to score on his Serie A debut as defending champions Juventus snatched a late 3-2 win against Chievo in a thrilling opening match of the 2018-2019 league season on Saturday.  Ronaldo, 33, joined from Real Madrid last month in a deal worth 100 million euros ($114.5 million). Substitute Federico Bernardeschi scored the winner two minutes into injury time with Germany international Sami Khedira opening the scoring after just three minutes at the Bentegodi Stadium. Chievo’s Mattia Bani turned into his own net after 75 minutes following pressure from Leonardo Bonucci to pull the champions level after the home side had taken a shock 2-1 lead. Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski had headed in and an Emanuele Giaccherini penalty gave the Flying Donkeys hope of a rare win over the Turin giants. Mario Mandzukic had a goal disallowed late in Continue reading "Ronaldo makes winning debut as Juventus hit back for 3-2 win at Chievo"

Marcos Alonso strikes late as Chelsea beat Arsenal in five-goal thriller

This ended up feeling like a vindication of all the caution expressed publicly by Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery in the campaign’s early days. Chelsea, relieved to have a player of Eden Hazard’s calibre to fling on to make a difference, triumphed here at Arsenal’s expense and celebrated in the giddy din at the final whistle. But for all the excitement this furious contest whipped up it also provided evidence as to why these teams are outsiders in the title race. Marcos Alonso’s winner came late on, with Petr Cech twice going on to deny Hazard the rewards his eye-catching cameo deserved. The Belgian only featured for 29 minutes but probably still provided the stellar impact of the afternoon. As it is, having clawed their way level and missed too many opportunities for comfort in a madcap opening period, Arsenal have lost their opening two topflight fixtures for the first Continue reading "Marcos Alonso strikes late as Chelsea beat Arsenal in five-goal thriller"

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus debut ends in dramatic late win at Chievo

Juventus came from behind to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win at Chievo as Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut for the Turin side on Saturday, although the Portugal captain was not among the scorers in his first Serie A match. Ronaldo was thwarted several times the by veteran Chievo goalkeeper, Stefano Sorrentino, and his handball in the buildup led to a late Juventus goal being disallowed. Continue reading...

Pochettino relieved as Kane gets off the mark in August

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London (AFP) – Tottenham striker Harry Kane finally scored a goal in August as Mauricio Pochettino integrated his World Cup stars back into Premier League life with a 3-1 win over Fulham on Saturday. Kane had never scored in August in 14 previous matches until claiming his team’s third goal after 77 minutes on an afternoon when the nine Spurs stars who reached the World Cup semi-finals continued to return to domestic action. “I’m very happy for him,” said Tottenham manager Pochettino. “It was important for him, important for him to feel the net in this period because, if not, we’ll make a trauma for him!  “He told me that after the game so he knows it’s good.” Kane’s goal had been set up by a surging run from substitute Erik Lamela and came four minutes after Spurs had regained the lead at Wembley through one of his Continue reading "Pochettino relieved as Kane gets off the mark in August"

Mbappe plays starring role on return to PSG side

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Paris (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe marked his first appearance for Paris Saint-Germain since winning the World Cup by coming off the bench to score a late brace that gave the French champions a 3-1 victory at Guingamp on Saturday. Nolan Roux had given the home side the lead in the Brittany sunshine, and only a combination of Gianluigi Buffon and VAR prevented Thomas Tuchel’s side from being further behind at half-time. But Mbappe came on for the second half and Neymar equalised from the penalty spot soon after, before the 19-year-old France starlet added two goals in the closing 10 minutes to secure the points. It is now two wins from two in Ligue 1 this season for PSG under new coach Thomas Tuchel, after they swept aside Monaco 4-0 to win the campaign-opening Champions Trophy in China. Once again the capital side were without a host of big names,
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Football League: Roofe strike secures Leeds win, Middlesbrough stay top

  • Soudani saves Forest, Sharp’s late strike takes points for Blades
  • Peterborough and Portsmouth cruise, Morecambe still goalless
Leeds completely dominated possession against Rotherham but were made to wait until four minutes after half-time to take the lead through a scrambled goal from Luke Ayling. Kemar Roofe’s curling, dipping shot in the 71st minute secured a third Leeds win of the season to maintain a 100% record for Marcelo Bielsa’s team. Continue reading...

Bielsa’s Leeds turn on the style, Middlesbrough surge

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London (AFP) – Marcelo Bielsa became the first Leeds manager to win his first four games as the Championship promotion contenders beat Rotherham 2-0 on Saturday. Bielsa has masterminded three consecutive second tier victories and a League Cup first round success at the start of his first season in charge. The former Argentina and Chile coach’s 100 percent start has helped Leeds climb to second in the Championship table. Luke Ayling’s header broke the deadlock early in the second half of the Yorkshire derby and Kemar Roofe struck his third of the season in the 72nd minute at Elland Road. Ayling’s first Leeds goal was awarded with the aid of goal-line technology after referee Robert Jones had initially given a goal kick. Middlesbrough are top of the table after a 2-0 win at Bristol City. First-half goals from Martin Braithwaite and Britt Assombalonga secured a third straight league win for Continue reading "Bielsa’s Leeds turn on the style, Middlesbrough surge"

Lewandowski saves Bayern from humiliation in village team’s ‘game of the century’

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Berlin (AFP) – Mighty Bayern Munich needed a late Robert Lewandowski goal on Saturday to secure a 1-0 German Cup win over Drochtersen/Assel, a fourth division village side who had described the occasion as their “game of the century”. In the shock of the day, holders Eintracht Frankfurt, who beat Bayern 3-1 in last season’s final, crashed out with a 2-1 defeat at fourth-division Ulm. Drochtersen/Assel, captained by a car salesman and featuring a tax advisor and a stonemason, welcomed Bayern to their village of just 11,500 people near Hamburg. “We can hardly wait for it to start — it’s the game of the century for us,” Drochtersen’s centre-back Soeren Behrmann told SID, an AFP subsidiary, from his desk at a car showroom on the eve of the first-round clash. A banner at the local church read: “We believe in miracles, we trust in God, we are D/A (Drochtersen/Assel).”  Continue reading "Lewandowski saves Bayern from humiliation in village team’s ‘game of the century’"

Harry Kane breaks August goal drought in Tottenham win over Fulham

Harry Kane broke his August duck in the Premier League and there were echoes of England’s World Cup summer as Tottenham overcame a committed effort from new boys Fulham at Wembley. A goal late in the first half from Lucas Moura, his first in the league for Spurs, was cancelled out by Aleksander Mitrovic early in the second half. But a strong response from the hosts saw first Kieran Trippier, in a replay of his semi-final heroics in Russia, and then Golden Boot winner Kane score to give Mauricio Pochettino an important win. Continue reading...

Kane ensures no Wembley woe for Spurs, Bournemouth go joint top

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London (AFP) – Harry Kane ended his hoodoo of failing to find the net in August as Tottenham made themselves at home at Wembley by beating Fulham 3-1 on Saturday to move top of the Premier League. Bournemouth are the only other side to so far take maximum points from their opening two games as Eddie Howe’s men came from behind to win 2-1 at West Ham. Everton’s £50-million signing Richarlison continued to quieten queries of his price tag with the winner as Southampton were defeated 2-1 at Goodison Park, while Leicester saw off Wolves 2-0 despite a red card for Jamie Vardy. The game of the day sees London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal face off at Stamford Bridge in an early-season test for new managers Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery. After becoming the first Premier League side since the introduction of the summer transfer window to fail to sign a
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Leicester’s James Maddison makes sure before Vardy sees red against Wolves

This felt like an unwelcome reminder for Wolverhampton Wanderers as to just how unforgiving the Premier League can be. Nuno Espírito Santo and the club’s board have high expectations for this season and on another day they could have come away from Leicester with their first top-flight victory. Instead they were left to rue the combination of profligacy in front of goal, the woodwork and some misfortune at the other end of the pitch as Leicester collected three points despite finishing the game with 10 men. Related: Richarlison’s fast start continues as Everton see off Southampton Continue reading...

Steve Cook header seals Bournemouth comeback win over West Ham

After all the talk of fresh starts, this felt worryingly familiar for West Ham. It was another one of those trying afternoons at the London Stadium and on this evidence it is going to be tougher than Manuel Pellegrini must have anticipated to tackle the gloom that tends to fall over this troubled ground in times of adversity. Related: Harry Kane breaks August goal drought in Tottenham win over Fulham Continue reading...

Aston Villa held by 10-man Ipswich after keeper Orjan Nyland makes a howler

A dreadful error by Aston Villa keeper Orjan Nyland slowed his side’s early-season momentum. Signed 11 days ago, the Norwegian gifted Ipswich an equaliser that the home side held on to despite playing more than 50 minutes with 10 men. With the visitors leading through a 21st-minute Jonathan Kodjia header, there appeared little danger as a long throw looped into the Villa area. Continue reading...